Murder suspect flirted with victim, jury hears

PUBLISHED: 15:53 27 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:57 25 August 2010

BLUDGEONED:Edward Highwood.

BLUDGEONED:Edward Highwood.

A MURDER victim told a friend his attacker was a nice boy before he was bludgeoned to death with a vase, a court heard.

A MURDER victim told a friend his attacker was a "nice boy" before he was bludgeoned to death with a vase, a court heard.

Marcin Orlowski, 21, of no fixed address, "befriended and flirted" with 79-year-old Edward Highwood after discovering he was gay.

The Polish national took advantage of Mr Highwood's "gregarious and kind" nature at a homeless drop-in centre and returned to his house in Hollymount Close, Greenwich, where he repeatedly battered the pensioner over the head causing multiple skull fractures.

Mr Highwood's death was 'rapid' but Orlowski carried out a prolonged search of the house and stole the victim's property before leaving.

On Monday prosecutor Victor Temple QC told the court: "This was also a murder committed against a man who was vulnerable because of his advanced age and against a man who showed nothing but kindness to this defendant at a time when he was homeless."

Mr Highwood was found dead at his home on July 18 last year by his friend and former partner Ronald Bristow, who shared the property.

The previous day Mr Highwood had invited Orlowski back to the house after meeting him at the 999 Club, a drop-in centre in nearby Deptford Broadway.

Mr Highwood was openly homosexual and "remained attracted to young men" despite his age, jurors were told.

Orlowski had arrived only days before the killing because a fellow Pole had offered him shelter, work as a builder and introduced him to the 999 Club.

On July 17 Orlowski was at the drop-in centre and was told Mr Highwood was someone who "on occasion would give money to the homeless". He was also informed the pensioner was gay.

The victim was heard to say Orlowski had winked at him and "given him the eye". He also told a friend: "He looks like a nice boy."

Mr Temple told the court: "This defendant capitalised on the information he gleaned and deliberately befriended Mr Highwood.

"He flirted with him and managed to get himself invited back to Mr Highwood's home, where he appears to have been offered a meal."

Orlowski, who denies murder, fled London and travelled to Brighton, but was arrested several days later.

The trial continues.

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